Wednesday, 28 May 2014

7 things I've learnt from keeping chickens...

Things have been very quiet in the chicken coop this month, so instead of our normal end of month update I give you:

Seven Things I've Learnt from Keeping Hens

1. They can be incredibly noisy. Nope, not just the boys. Our girls make a racket whenever they are about to lay an egg, they have laid an egg, they see a passing shadow (pigeon!), another hen has the best spot in the nest box or they're just feeling grumpy. So, yeah, noisy.

2. Eggs come in all shapes and sizes. I always knew that the supermarket eggs weren't the only sort but I'd never have guessed that we'd see such a range from our little flock.


3. Chickens are inquisitive birds. They'll stick their beaks in anywhere they can, particularly if there's a chance of something tasty. Pepper in particular has learnt to shadow us as we garden in the hope we'll turn up some yummy bugs.


4. They have a large range of clucks that's relatively unique to each hen. Frog has a little cluck, Pepper is friendly and talkative when happy and goes for the clu-clu-clu-clu-clawrk-clu-clu-clu-clawrk when annoyed. Lemon just generally squawks, sometimes with a bit of a warble. Without exception though they all go for an unending rhythmic cluck if you disturb them when broody (one of the giveaway signs that they are broody and not just laying).


Frog demonstrating the "broody hen cluck" for you...


5. Did I mention how noisy they can be?

6. We quickly learnt how to catch and keep a hold of a hen. The trick is to corner them, hope they squat (something laying hens will often do as a matter of course), and don't be scared when they flap! 



7. Hens are sociable animals. They love to sit on the back doorstep and watch us. They will come running when we get home from work and happily say hello when we're out in the garden. Most of this is because we're well established as the bringers of food... But I'd like to think there's more to it than that. Well, I can hope (yes I know I'm deluded).


8 comments:

  1. There's such a difference in the size of each egg, that's something I'd never thought about before.

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    1. Mostly that's because Frog is a bantam and she lays little eggs, but there's quite a bit of variation from our other two as well.

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  2. I love listening to my neighbours chickens, it seems to be a far off dream of me having my own. There is so much going on in the house at the moment there never seems to be time to clear a space for them in the garden. I am clinging on though.

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    1. I have to hope our neighbours like listening to ours as well. Lemon in particular doesn't do anything quietly! I'm sure you'll get your hens one day - but I know the feeling of there never being time to do the jobs that precede such a thing.

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  3. I had no idea about the eggs but I do know how noisy they can be. I had to laugh thinking about them watching you.

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    1. They are very nosy birds - always curious as to what we're doing. It's very companionable though :)

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  4. Living in a village there are a number of people who keep chickens and we can always access a supply from one or the other. The 4 paws groomer keeps chickens and some of the shapes and sizes we've had from her reminds me of your photo.

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  5. I loved this post, it has me smiling! I love the tip about how to capture them too!!! Wonderful critters chickens.xxx

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